1. Planning and Budgeting
- Planning and budgeting is even more important as a self-employed worker, when you usually don’t earn a regular income. Generally, you should track your monthly income and expenses, set aside some savings and plan for emergencies and retirement.
- You may also want to consider setting up bank accounts to separate your personal and work-related finances, and think about getting an e-wallet to help keep track of your spending.
- If you meet the income requirement, you may need to file taxes.
- Keep records of relevant financial transactions, like your bank statements and income statements or quotations/bills to customers and clients for tax filing and applying for loans.
2. Saving and Investing
- Saving money is important for self-employed workers to help manage how much cash you have to survive, as your income may not be fixed every month. To be safe, build an emergency fund containing at least 6 months of your monthly income. You can also set aside money for your savings goals, like buying a house or a car.
- Savings will lose value over time due to inflation, so you may need to invest to grow your money faster and protect against inflation, especially to make sure you have enough money for your retirement.
- Since self-employed workers usually don’t get insurance benefits from employers like salaried workers do, you’ll have to look into getting your own medical or life insurance.
- SOCSO’s Self-Employment Social Security Scheme is a mandatory insurance scheme for self-employed workers involved in certain sectors. If you’re a self-employed worker who doesn’t fall under those sectors, you can also sign up for the scheme voluntarily.
- Some self-employed worker platform providers may also provide insurance through the platform, so check if you’re eligible.
- You can also look at microinsurance plans, which can provide more affordable protection for lower coverage amounts and shorter coverage periods.
4. Tackling Debt
- If you’re applying for a loan as a self-employed worker, the process may take longer or you may need to provide more documentation than a regular worker, since self-employed workers usually don’t get monthly payslips which are one of the basic documents financial institutions need to process loan applications.
- When taking a loan, some things you should look out for are the effective interest rate (EIR), which is the actual interest rate you’ll pay on your loan after taking into account the loan tenure, and the amount of your loan. Knowing the EIR and choosing the best loan tenure based on your situation could help you reduce the amount you’ll have to repay.
5. Retirement Planning
- Although self-employed workers don’t have mandatory retirement savings like with salaried workers, you can still save for your retirement through schemes like EPF’s i-Saraan or Private Retirement Schemes.
6. Partner benefits with an e-hailing/digital platform
- Some e-hailing/digital platforms provide benefits for self-employed workers who get work through the platforms. If you work with an e-platform, check if you can get these benefits, like fuel rebates or extra incentive payments, to help you make the most out of your income.